Iscador is a herbal cancer treatment derived from fermented European mistletoe (Viscum album). Various parts of the mistletoe plant are used in order to formulate the extraction.
Mistletoe has been used medicinally for centuries for a variety of purposes by multiple cultures. Rudolf Steiner pioneered the use of mistletoe therapy in connection to the treatment of cancer in the beginning of the twentieth century.
Iscador is the proprietary mistletoe cancer treatment formulation made by the Swiss company, Weleda. In Germany and Switzerland over 60% of patients will receive Iscador Therapy as part of their cancer treatment.
Iscador Therapy has the following therapeutic qualities in cancer care:
- Stimulates the immune system
- Inhibits the growth of cancer cells
- Reduces the size of tumors
- Improves quality of life
- Lessens pain associated with tumors
- Improves ability to cope with radio- and chemotherapy
- Lifts depressive moods
At Hawaii Naturopathic Retreat Center, Iscador Therapy can be part of a treatment plan for cancer patients. Iscador Therapy is used in conjunction with our other cancer treatment modalities (Gerson Therapy, Intravenous Therapy, Hydrotherapy, Melatonin, etc.).
The Iscador comes in a box with seven individual ampules. Each ampule has a different strength of mistletoe formula. The first phase of treatment involves determining the strength of mistletoe extract needed for the individual. The formula (starting with number one to seven) is injected subcutaneously on the abdomen every other day until the appropriate immune response is triggered. We are looking for reddening of the skin, hardening of the injection area and possibly itching. Once the appropriate immune response is observed, we order the determined strength of Iscador for the particular patient to continue the therapy at that measure.
The second phase of the treatment involves educating and training the patient to do their own Iscador injections. Or, if not possible and preferred, the patient’s companion can be the one who receives instruction and education on administering the therapy at home. The success of the treatment depends on continuing the therapy at home.
Commonly asked questions regarding Iscador Therapy:
Where, how and how often is the Iscador extraction injected?
The Iscador formula is injected subcutaneously. The injections are given on the abdomen every two days.
What will typically happen after the injection?
Either nothing will happen and then you continue with injecting the next ampule which will be stronger or the patient has an immune response where the skin around the area where the injection was given will become red, swollen, indurated (hardened) and possibly itchy. When you get a reaction, you have determined the strength required for that specific individual.
Is it a painful treatment?
Because these are subcutaneous injections, the needle is a small needle. It is a ¾ of an inch needle, it is not a big needle and it is not painful. There are no other sensations other than the small area of skin reddening, hardening and possibly itching. Any discomfort is limited to the small quarter size area of the skin around where the Iscador was injected.
What are the side effects that should be anticipated?
There are no side effects other than the regular immune response of reddening of skin area, hardening and possible itching. If you do not follow the instructions correctly and inject a stronger, more concentrated solution than necessary, big areas of the skin on the body will become red. This is not the standard of care, it is not recommended and patients should avoid trying to induce a strong immune response on their own.
How do I know that the therapy is working?
You do the same blood work, measure cancer markers when appropriate, and monitor signs and clinical symptoms, to manage your progress. If a tumor is still involved you do a CT Scan (CAT Scan) to see if the tumor is reducing in size and if changes are occurring to the tumor. In other words the monitoring of the cancer is the same lab studies and imaging studies as it would be for any other treatment in cancer. At our retreat we do blood work once a month or more often when it is needed.
How long is the therapy typically continued for?
Can the therapy be included in treatment shortly after chemotherapy or radiation?
Yes absolutely and you can also combine Iscador therapy with other therapies. At our retreat we combine it with the Gerson therapy and Vitamin C IV therapy.
Use of Iscador, an Extract of European Mistletoe (Viscum Album), In Cancer Treatment: Prospective Nonrandomized and Randomized Matched-Pair Studies Nested Within Cohort Study. Alternative Therapies, May/June 2001, 7 (3): 57-78.
Safety and Efficacy of the Long-term Adjuvant Treatment of Primary Intermediate- to High-Risk Malignant Melanoma (UICC/AJCC Stage II and III) with a Standardized Fermented European Mistletoe Viscum album L.) Extract. Arzneim.-Forsch./Drug Res., 2005, 55 (1): 38−49.
Treatment Responses to Viscum Album Pini (Iscador® P) In Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Exploring a New Therapeutic Route, Medicina (Buenos Aires) 2007; 67 (Supl. II): 107-114.
Kaegi, E., Unconventional Therapies for Cancer: 3. Iscador. Canadian Medical Association Journal. May 1998 158 (9): 1157-1159.